Bickmore, Albert S. (Albert Smith), 1839-1914

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Exist Dates

1839 March 1 - 1914 August 12

Biographical or Historical Note

See description in AMNH Archives database:

Albert S. Bickmore was a museum curator and superintendent. Bickmore was the principal founder of the American Museum of Natural History and the organizer and first curator of the Dept. of Public Education; he was also curator of archaeology and curator of ethnology. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. from Dartmouth, and working at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, Bickmore traveled for three years between 1864 and 1867, through Indonesia, East Asia, Siberia and Europe, collecting specimens and studying ethnology, visiting the Ainu, Gilyaks and other peoples. On his return to the U.S., Bickmore worked with a group of prominent New Yorkers, including Morris K. Jesup, to draw up a petition and plan for an American natural history museum. When the AMNH opened in 1871, Bickmore was appointed superintendent. He developed a series of Lectures to teachers (1888-1903), illustrated with lantern slides, covering all the scientific disciplines in which the museum was involved, which could be presented to school groups or used by teachers in their classrooms. In 1884, he resigned his post of superintendent in order to act as curator of the Dept. of Public Instruction (later named the Dept. of Public Education), established in 1886. Bickmore continued to expand the educational work of the museum, offering lectures to the public and, in collaboration with Columbia University, developing courses in forestry, astronomy, mineralogy and chemistry. He retired in January 1905 to become curator emeritus.


    Library of Congress Name Authority File
    From biographical note for Bickmore's manuscript collection at the AMNH Library, Mss .B5351-.B5358, written by Ann Herendeen.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

American Museum of Natural History
Principal founder of the museum, curator and superintendent.

Related Resources

Albert S. Bickmore papers, 1854-1914 (bulk 1865-1903)
Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Mss .B5351-.B5358.
An autobiography, with a historical sketch of the founding and early development of the American Museum of Natural History
Click on link to view electronic version available in AMNH Digital Repository.

Written by: Iris Lee
Last modified: 2018 September 26


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